January 23, 2019

UK health and safety chiefs hit back in asbestos app row

An asbestos removers’ trade group had criticised the HSEs new Beware Asbestos app, but now the authority has moved to counter criticism

Health and safety chiefs have hit back at claims a new online advice service for North East workers could put people at risk of asbestosis and mesothelioma.

The Beware Asbestos app was attacked by the United Kingdom Asbestos Training Association which said untrained people may be encouraged to try and remove the potentially deadly material themselves.

Now the Health and Safety Executive have moved to counter the criticism, with a spokesman saying the authority was dismayed by the reaction to the campaign, which had won the backing of former Newcastle United defender Stuart Pearce.

“HSE is surprised and disappointed that UKATA appears to be arguing for the removal of free advice aimed at those who might otherwise remain unaware of the risks they face with regards to asbestos,” a spokesman said.

“HSE’s Beware Asbestos campaign is aimed at, and reaching, thousands of trades people and workers who undertake jobs on a daily basis that intentionally or unintentionally disturb asbestos.

“Many of these workers are ignorant of the risks they face when they carry out common tasks such as drilling holes in textured ceilings and replacing old panels around baths.

“The web app takes already existing advice on how to do these tasks safely and presents it in an easy to understand way that workers can carry around with them. “The web app is very clear in stating what jobs tradespeople must not do, and indeed helps them to find and contact licensed asbestos contractors in their area who can do those jobs for them.

“While commercially available training courses, such as those provided by UKATA’s members, play an important part in educating workers on what they must do, it is also vital that as many workers as possible know about the risk they face from asbestos and of the simple measures they can follow to protect themselves.”

Around 2,100 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year and it is almost always fatal, with most of those affected usually dying within 12 months of diagnosis.

The North East – particularly Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Hartlepool – is a blackspot for asbestos-related diseases, as it was used in shipbuilding, construction and the automotive industry.

A ‘standardised mortality ratio’ is used to identify blackspots, where a figure of 100 would be the expected number of deaths, given the age of the population. But in North Tyneside the figure is much higher, at 309; in South Tyneside it is 303; across the Tyne and Wear Metropolitan County the figure is 235; and in the North East it is 170.

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UK health and safety chiefs hit back in asbestos app row

Spencers Solicitors: Asbestos Victims to Be Denied Justice in New Mesothelioma Bill

LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwired – May 9, 2013) – Asbestos victims are set to be denied the right to receive the compensation they fully deserve on the Mesothelioma Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech yesterday. It was announced that sufferers of mesothelioma, only one type of asbestos-related cancer, will receive compensation where no liable employer or insurer can be traced. This means that those suffering from other forms of asbestos-related cancer, such as asbestosis, will be excluded from receiving similar compensation.

Commenting on the Bill, John Spencer, Director of Spencers Solicitors, a leading personal injury claimant law firm based in Chesterfield, said:

“All victims of asbestos related disease should receive the urgent compensation they deserve. It appears that the future fund announced in yesterday’s Queen’s speech will not go anywhere near far enough in ensuring justice for all victims of asbestos.

“Support for mesothelioma victims is long overdue, but it is not right that those who suffer other lung cancers or conditions caused by asbestos may get nothing under the proposed legislation. We urge MPs and Peers to amend the legislation to tackle this injustice.”

Unfortunately the injustice does not stop there. For those that can claim under the new legislation, only those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma from 25 July 2012 can make a claim. This denies compensation to the thousands of people who have already been diagnosed with mesothelioma before summer last year.

The Government estimates that more than 300 mesothelioma sufferers a year currently lose out on compensation because they are unable to trace a liable employer or employers’ liability insurer. The new scheme, funded by insurers, estimates that around 3,500 mesothelioma victims across the UK will be eligible to receive approximately £300m in payments in the first 10 years of the fund.

John Spencer said of implementing the new legislation:

“It is of paramount importance that the Bill is introduced as early as possible and implemented speedily in order for inflicted victims to be given the compensation they urgently need.

“The sad reality is that any delay to implementing the legislation might mean that many of those applying to the fund might die before they receive any award.”

Notes to editors:

Spencers Solicitors (www.spencerssolicitors.com) is one of the UK’s leading firms of personal injury solicitors. Based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Spencers is committed to protecting its clients’ best interests by putting duty before profit, and campaigning for justice for those affected by negligence and statutory breach, and for the improvement of professional standards and business practices within the personal injury system.


Spencers Solicitors

Millennium Way



S41 8ND

Spencers Solicitors

John Spencer

01256 337999


Madano Partnership

Jessica Evans

020 7593 4000


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Spencers Solicitors: Asbestos Victims to Be Denied Justice in New Mesothelioma Bill

Asbestos scare at Chirnside Park

Should developers let residents know when asbestos is removed? Have your say below

He believed an underground watering system for the golf course used asbestos pipes, and was worried the large earth-moving equipment digging them up would fracture them and release asbestos particles.

The site abuts about 320 residential lots, with three schools – Chirnside Park Primary School, Lilydale West Primary School and Lilydale Heights Secondary College – 1km away.

Mr O’Brien sought an explanation from Yarra Ranges Council but was told to close his windows and doors if worried.

“These blue-clad respirated men are working 50m from some residents’ back fences. If what they are doing is so dangerous, why weren’t we warned?”

Cloverlea Chirnside Park spokesman Rob Weisz said asbestos was being safely removed from the underground drainage pipes from the golf course.

Work was being done in accordance with WorkSafe requirements with daily air monitoring, Mr Weisz said.

A year ago Yarra Ranges Council approved plans by developer CSR Ltd to build at least 550 houses on the former Chirnside Park Country Club site despite a bitter fight by residents to retain it as a golf course.

Edited letter from Barry O’Brien:

For many years we, the residents of Chirnside Park, fought an application by The Chirnside Park Country Club to have the golf course land rezoned so it could be developed as a housing estate.

This was despite the fact that when the suburb was first opened in the 1970s as a “golf course estate” the land in question was given to the residents by the developer as open space so the golf course could be created.

The land was then signed over by the residents to a newly created body, which became the Chirnside Park Country Club.

The title of the land was transferred from the residents to the CPCC and the land became private property.

The golf course was built and for many years residents enjoyed a wonderfully tranquil, almost rural environment, and the golfers enjoyed an attractive eighteen hole course. This was the “park” in Chirnside Park.

But seven years ago the committee of CPCC, with the aid of the developer, applied to the council to have the land rezoned residential. When the residents of Chirnside Park rose up in protest the council rejected the proposal.

While the residents were still celebrating the victory, the State Government overturned the council’s decision. Why or how the government decided to get involved is a mystery.

The government decided the park could be developed and sent the matter back to the council with suggestions for a string of amendments.
The new council voted and allowed the development to proceed. The destruction of the park began in August this year and for weeks we have listened to the ungodly scream of chainsaws and mulchers as the towering stands of trees come crashing down and are unceremoniously carted away as garden mulch.

Now it is a barren treeless waste with what appears no restrictions on the obliteration.

Last week men in blue chemical hazard suits with respirators appeared among the fallen trees and began using earth-moving equipment to reveal mysterious objects that had been buried underneath the fairways. These men are working 50m from some residents’ back fences. If what they are doing is so dangerous, why weren’t we warned?

Although residents are appreciative of the council’s efforts of saving baby ring-tailed possums, we have been betrayed from the very beginning of this sad saga.

The land which we bequeathed to the CPCC was sold from under us.
The State Government torpedoed the democratic rights of the then-council and eventually the new council and our own elected representatives turned on us.
We are currently searching for a word that adequately describes what has been done to us, but in the meantime the word “betrayed” will suffice.

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Originally from: 

Asbestos scare at Chirnside Park